The 10 Types of People You Meet in Pediatric Therapy Waiting Rooms


If you have spent time in pediatric therapy waiting rooms, you may recognize these people. In fact, you’re probably one or a combo of these people. Personally, I have been been several of these at one time or another (numbers four, five and nine in particular). With four kids receiving services, I have logged some staggering numbers in waiting rooms.

1. The TMI-er

They make sure everyone knows what’s up with their child. Before you part ways, you will have a strong understanding of their child’s current bowel issues (how often they go, what it looks like, etc.), food preferences and their child’s current diagnoses.

2. The Newb

They are new to this scene after their child aged out of in-home early intervention programs. They often have the “deer in headlights” look in their eyes and may turn to others for advice.

3. The Acronym-er

These people speak in abbreviations: “OT, SLP, PT, ABA, COMT, etc.” They sometimes use two or three acronyms in one sentence and are oblivious to the glazed look that may come into your eyes midway into the conversation. They have read a lot books and remain under the illusion that everyone else has read them. It is best to just nod your head in agreement and avoid clarification.

4.  The “Been There, Done That”

They are loosely related to the Acronymer but will carry an air of superiority. They may think they are the “autism-est” parent of all time and are not shy about making their opinions known. They will often strike up a conversation with the Newb so they can share their wisdom of which therapies they need to try. They sometimes have difficulty understanding that what works for one may not work for everyone.

5. The “I Cannot Lose Control”-er

These are the ones who bring all their kids and keep them on a short leash in the event they wreak havoc on the waiting room. They will sometimes look with disdain at the kids who are wreaking havoc in the waiting room and will not allow their kids to join them. This may result in their kids getting upset and melting down. This often elicits an eye roll that says, “Do you see what I have to put up with?”

6. The Groomed Professional

They may look a little out of place in the waiting room amongst the jeans-and-sweats crowd. They are not the regular chauffeurs for their child, but are usually happy to be there and see what their child is doing.

7. The Earth Mother

They know all the staff, parents and kids and will address them all individually, by name, and remember what was going on with them the week before. Their own child is often ignored and may go tip the bookcase over to get attention.

8. The Drama King/Queen

Similar to the Been There, Done That, with an exception: They make a grand entrance that no one can ignore. They will yell at their kids without hesitation and yell at yours if they see fit. You always know what is going on with them because they are loud.

9. The “Nobody Talk To Me”

This person is the one sitting in the corner with a book or electronic device. They rarely make eye contact and just want to be left alone. Seriously, this is the equivalent of a vacation for them. If they want to chat, they will let you know — otherwise, leave them be!

10. The Others

This includes babysitters, nannies, grandparents, etc. They are hoping their charge avoids a meltdown and will do whatever it takes to keep them happy. They sometimes have siblings with them who wreak havoc in the waiting room, and they try to maintain control. They try, but usually their uncertainty is taken advantage of and the kids run wild.

I believe one common element between everyone is the desire to help and support their children. I am thankful for the people I have met throughout the years!

Follow this journey on Autism Odysseys.

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